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Sunday, July 13, 2008

An Oasis in the Desert...

These gratifying words, texted to me by a person whom I recently met and took instant liking to, capped an eventful and memorable internship at Trident India Ltd.

The last day was pretty comical; farcical might be a better word. As it was, we hadn't done ourselves any favors by booking a ticket for a 4 pm train from Ludhiana to Delhi, with the final presentation due at 12. Ludhiana is roughly 1.5 hours from Barnala, and the cost-cutting measures imposed by the company ensured that we weren't going to get a company cab to transport us to Ludhiana.

*The Night Before...*

After much deliberations and delays we finally got cracking at the final presentation at around 6 in the evening.
Understimate, we did.
It was hard to concentrate since the prospect of being back home within 24 hours was far too distracting. Anyhow, we are engineers, and we pride ourselves in Jugaad.
So executing our skills, which we have so extensively honed during our 3 years in IIT, to perfection, we were half way through by dinner time.
Dinner took unusually long, with me getting a pratical lecture on civilized eating. The dinner itself was unusual, milk with potato chips, no wonder Tushar and me developed a stomach bug the next day.
The presentation went long into the night, finally finishing at 2 am. Next on the checklist was stuffing, err, I mean packing. Complete child's play, t'was done and dusted in 15 minutes.
2:15am , and it was time to hit the bed, with my mind conjuring up images of the presentation panel giving me a round of applause.

*The Final Day...*

At 9 am sharp, I was in the office waiting for my supervisor. He was very appreciative of the work I had done, and said
"Now all depends on your skill of presentation"
"Ah! thats my speciality", I whispered to myself.

When ever there is a presentation or a viva or any other tricky situation, its almost a given that I'd be first up, my friends would testify that. Surprisingly, I was slotted in last.

Pranav went in first, and we waited for his reviews with bated breath. Out he came, completely drenched in sweat with a sheepish smile spreading right across his face.

"Pakad, pakad ke maar li yarr"

Strangely enough, this acted as a confidence booster for both me and Tushar, human psychology may explain this anomaly, but lets leave it at that.
Our presentation went through without a glitch, the panel almost seemed bored by the time I presented, and I had no intensions of making it interesting for them.
All was done by 2 pm; just a few formalities in the office, followed by a race between me and Tushar. The winner was going to get the priveledge of sitting in the front seat of the cab that was going to drop us to the Ludhiana station. Yes, we had finally managed a transport, but we had to pay from our own pocket.
I sped across with amazing acceleration, and maintianed the lead till the exit, where I stopped, assuming that the race was over. But displaying huge opportunism, Tushar slid past my left shoulder at the exit and took the front seat.
Anyhow, we'll settle this issue once and for all, once we meet again.

Enroute, I cast my mind back to people and events that made this internship worth remembering. It's quite a task, living with the same set of people for such a length of time. The blandness of the place did not help one bit. Consequently, there were misunderstandings, heated arguments and so on. But all were settled amicably, and the fun we had together eclipsed all of that. We did everything from choreography to music compositon to finding deadlier ways of killing mosquitoes. Hayward's 5000 should take some credit for these sudden bursts of creativity, though.

This is the last post under "The Chronicles of Barnala" , I'd be switching to philosophy very soon, so keep checking this space.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

S.O.S. Atilla is here.

* You are being attacked by Bleda the Hun *
The message flashed across the screen, but I couldn't care less, Bleda could do no harm as my Throwing Axemen were ravaging the hunnic lands. Bleda's ally, Theodoric the Goth, wasn't faring any better with my Frankish Knights making light work of his Huskarals.

Finally the curse was being lifted, I was on the verge of defeating two hardest-computers, but suddenly
there is an 'akashvaani' ...

"Kaise ho Pushkin" ?

It's HIM!
It's ATTILA the HUN!!! Flanked by his notorious knights.
I am doomed!

Okay come out of your A.O.E dream world dammit, it was more like....

It's HIM!
It's ADITYA DEWAN!!! My H.R. training supervisor.
I am doomed!!

*Okay Pushkin calm down, you have had it worse* i murmured to myself.

*The caretaker rushes in...*

"Kya aap single ho ?"


"Fir aapko inke saath doubling karni padegi"

*A guy walks up to me....*

"Hi, I am Kanishka from I.I.T Rorkee"

Okay! the pieces of the jigsaw were now falling into place, the notorious knights that I had alluded to earlier were the new summer internees inducted by Aditya himself, and I had to share the room with one of them.

It sounds pretty straight forward now, but in real time it was all too confusing, as while all of this was unraveling i was frantically searching for my shirt.
The damned thing was hiding beneath the pillow.
Anyway, now that I was respectably clothed, and presumably, on a higher pedestal of self-esteem, I was much better prepared to handle this predicament.
Thereafter, we exchanged some pleasantries and soon they were off for lunch.

It really couldn't get any worse, first of all I was caught bunking, and secondly, I now had to share my beloved room.
But there was more anguish in store, amid all the confusion, I had left the game I was so intensely hooked onto, only to realize later that without my dynamic leadership my army was completely annihilated.

No time for any regrets, I flung my I.D. card around my neck and rushed to the unit, hoping to catch them there and do some, you know, 'damage control'. But i couldn't find them there.
Aditya is a chill guy, i thought, so maybe he'll understand. As it turned out, he actually was, atleast on the surface.

Quite an eventfull afternoon nevertheless, quite the opposite to the dull, drab and sleepy ones I had been accustomed to lately.

Signing off!
good day!

Monday, June 2, 2008

I come, I see, I flee.

Yeah, that's been my job, at least for the last 7 days.
But before anybody starts to question my sincerity, i must mention that I've graced the office with my presence, however fleeting, for 23 straight days .
Everyday I tell myself, come what may, I would definitely do some work today. Unfortunately (or fortunately) my supervisor(s) don't seem to share the same enthusiasm.
Fair enough, they have their own problems to deal with, attrition being the one of them.
Unable to handle the intense heat, the workers suddenly start quitting their jobs around June every year. Also, the machines find this time apt to breakdown or malfunction. Consequently the productivity nose-dives and the tension lines ( more like trenches) start to widen on the manger's forehead.
Amid all the chaos though, the maintenance head has been able to retain his sense of humor.

Just the other day....

worker: "Sir machine chal nahin rahi hai..."
head: "Fir...?"

*the helpless worker stays quiet*
*the head looks at him very earnestly and says...*

head : " Aisa kar, tu market ja aur ek Hanumanji ki photo le a. Use machine ke pass rakhte hain aur nariyal phodte hain, shayad machine chal pade, nahin?"

*worker gives a sheepish smile*

Deprived of my supervisor's attention, I tried to keep myself busy by just looking around and observing stuff. But the workers don't seem to like it, as I've vividly described in my previous posts.
Not having someone watching over you isn't that bad, really. With the office being barely 200 m from where I stay, I went there every day, took a 'O' shaped path and exited from the door I entered. Meanwhile, if I happened to see the supervisor, I met him and we chatted for a while. But I generally tried to avoid such 'encounters' and hence at times I contorted my path to a much more swift and efficient 'U' shape.
You must be wondering, why do I go there after all.
Well, it's kind of more satisfying to return after having taken a round. Don't ask why, but it just is.

This week has been a complete dud, and also, with the completion of the IPL, a yawing gap would be left in my daily routine for the following weeks.
I would be signing off now, hoping that the next week would be far more productive, at least work-wise, after all an interim report is due on the 15th.


Monday, May 26, 2008

The one with the 'Cheese-less Royalty'

So here I was, walking on a deserted street with Pranav and Tushar (co-internees), and some stray cattle for company. We had been walking for the best part of an hour, after having a sumptuous dinner at "Ghazal".
For the first time in two weeks, I ventured out of the campus hoping to get some non-vegetarian food and booze, both of which are banned inside the premises. This sudden trip, however, was fueled by a culinary disaster.
The canteen food so far had given us nothing to complain about, but the tables turned on Sunday as they served an absolute shocker.
The Royal cheese (Shahi paneer) had its royalty diminished with the absence of any cheese, and the Potato peas (Aaloo mutter) was more of a 'tease' than a 'please'.
Also, it was Pranav's birthday the day before, and as usual, i forgot to wish him. :D

The perambulation of the city made me realize that i had made all the wrong assumptions. The place where i am staying is not the city of Barnala, but just a suburb. Not that the city itself is a paradise on earth, but at least we could find some restaurants and a market there.
I hereby also wish to bring out the flawed etymology of the word "Bar-Nala(h)".Agreed, it has a slew of nalahs spread all over the place, but BAR, no, not a single one. :(

We had a surprise meeting with the unit head the other day. He had sent a worker to search for us in the workshop. The worker struck gold and found one of us there, which if i may add is a
very rare sight. We discoursed about many loosely connected topics ranging from the quality of mess food to the threat to the spinning industry from China.
One of his questions, however, caught us completely off-guard and left us tongue tied.

Unit head: "Job karoge yahan par"?

I looked at Tushar, Tushar looked at Pranav and Pranav looked at me, all in the hope that someone would say something. Eventually, Tushar did blurt out something on the lines of 'depends on the whole package...', but i had feeling that the head expected this response, or the lack of it.
Anyhow, we have gotten wiser since then and now we know what to say and what not to, thanks to the crisis meeting we had that very evening.

Television is the favorite pass-time as of now, especially the assortment of sporting action on air these days. While the 'terry-ble' miss gave all ardent Manchester United fans much to cheer about, Dada's innings last night was pure magic.
Sorry for taking a dig at John Terry, though he was fantastic for Chelsea throughout the season, but the year belonged to Ronaldo, who ensured that his much publicized kiss with Bipasha Basu didn't go to waste, winning Man. Utd. both the Premiership and the Champions league. Maybe that was the 'kick' he needed.
Some food for thought for the cricketing fraternity (read BCCI), eh? :D

My project work is chugging along nicely, I've been given the freedom to do whatever i want, which i don't seem to mind one bit. But the incessant grinning of the workers here is really pissing me off. I still can't figure out what is so amusing about a person wearing a mask and standing beside them with a stop watch in hand. Yes, that's pretty much what i am supposed to do.

That's it for now, toodle-oo!


Saturday, May 17, 2008

The First Week

My first week here, and it hasn't been as bad as i expected it to be. 'Things ' are a lot hotter in Delhi though;pun intended. :D
We really haven't had to sweat much for anything. My two basic requirements have been more than met, the accommodation has been good and free, and the food, free and good. :D

A word or two about my workplace; most employee are locals or from nearby areas. The company makes yarn,
so ok,
what does a mechanical engineer have to do with it?

Well i am in the process of figuring that out myself, so later. :D

The labor class are predominantly girls from the neighborhood, young and innocent i think, but why do they keeping staring at me??

My project involves a lot of interaction with the workers, which am not at all comfortable with, for one they cant help laughing whenever i ask them about something, and secondly their answer almost every time is "Haan".

me: "Sirji, is machine se material machine no. 2 par jaata hai kya? "
worker: "Haan"
me: "Kahin machine no. 3 par toh nahi jaata? "
worker: "Haan, haan".


And the millions of strands of yarn fiber hanging in the air, doesn't make things any better. Wear black at your own peril. Though we've been provided with a mask, but my nose has taken a special dislike to it. Add to that the heat and the sweat and now you can picture me, can't you?

But thankfully, i don't have to spend that much time there, my guide is a good man you see. Though the workers he lambastes everyday may have a different story to tell. Just the other day, he flayed one of them holding him by the collar, but the worker had it coming, i mean, who the hell bang on the desk of his boss, specially when he is double your size. :O

The first place we were taken to was the "BLOW ROOM", and i started giggling at its mere mention, my co-internees from iit Delhi though, looked rather bemused, unable to fathom out what was so hilarious, damn! i miss my pack. :(

Swaying to the tunes of "fear of the dark" *

I must say somethings about the females here, not too different to iit Delhi, maybe another 5 kilos to the average and add to that the heavy Punjabi accent, i call them the FGOWH. Try cracking this one, fellas ;)

My evening are taken care of by The IPL and some random 1970's Hindi movie aired on zee-cinema etc. I plan to start with my GRE preparation soon.

Thats just about it, keep checking this space.